Under the Never Sky — Veronica Rossi


Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers a barbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love – one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY.

Aria was raised in Reverie, a small Pod that protects her and a few thousand other Dwellers from the outside world. Living in such an enclosed space was stifling, so the Realms were created as a means of distraction and entertainment. In the Realms, Dwellers can live out their wildest dreams and fantasies, free from fear, pain, and sickness. Reverie and the Realms are the only life Aria has ever known, until she’s left for dead in the outside world. There, Perry finds Aria just as the hovers that deposited her abduct his nephew. Though every fiber of his being rebels against the idea, Perry realizes that the only way to get Talon back is to team up with Aria, if he can manage not to kill her long enough for her to help him.

From the very beginning, I wanted to like Under the Never Sky. It’s unlike any dystopian novel I’ve read so far. It’s intriguing, the plot is unbelievably unique, the tantalizing descriptions are fresh, and the chapters shift between Aria’s and Perry’s points of views, providing insight into both their worlds. But for some reason, I didn’t fall right into it. The beginning chapters felt kind of forced and disjointed to me. I liked the world Rossi was creating, but I didn’t love the characters. And then Aria was thrown out of Reverie and it was like a flip switched into my mind. Everything fell into place; I was riveted.

While I loved the crazy-interesting and intricate world Rossi created, the characters really stole the show for me. At first, Aria didn’t stand out to me. She seemed nice enough, but I was far more interested in Perry, the complicated Savage. He had so many different sides to his personality and I loved seeing how certain characters brought out certain aspects of that personality. As Aria and Perry grew more comfortable around each other, Aria opened up. I saw how brave and selfless and funny she could be. As the two got to know each other, they truly brought out the best in each other. The development of their relationship was fascinating and gripping, especially given the fact that we could experience it through both of their eyes.

Then there was Roar, one of Perry’s closest friends. He stole my heart from the second he opened his mouth. He was just so, so amazing. I wanted to cuddle with him. I still want to cuddle with him. And he did a great job of managing the awkardness between Aria and Perry. But the amazing supporting cast didn’t stop there. Cinder and Marron also brought a smile to my face, just because they had such distinct personalities. Every character really leaped off the page for me so that I felt like I was experiencing Under the Never Sky in 3D.

Beside the phenomenal character development, the book is very plot-driven. There was a sense of urgency and suspense to it that kept me eagerly flipping pages. Not to mention the top-notch world-building. Rossi’s explanation of both societies is clear and fully detailed, providing excellent imagery and a logical back-story. Under the Never Sky is a remarkable debut, proving that Veronica Rossi is an author to look out for.

Pages: 400
Publication Date: January 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Challenge: Debut Author
Rating [rating: 5]

Teaser Quote: “It’s time, Perry.” He let her go. She took a step back, taking in his face one last time. His green eyes. The bend in his nose and the scars on his cheek. All the tiny imperfections that made him beautiful. Without a word, she turned and made her way downhill. 

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